The lights are on
In the aftermath of King.com trademarking the word "candy," opposing Stoic's attempted trademark of "The Banner Saga" due to the use of the word "saga," and allegations of cloning, its CEO has issued a public statement.
In the long letter (which you can read in its entirety here), Riccardo Zacconi tried to clarify his company's position. "At its simplest, our policy is to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others," he said, which many may take umbrage with.
In relation to the charges of cloning., Zacconi shied away from taking full responsibility, but was unequivocal in saying the game never should have been published. "The details of the situation are complex, but the bottom line is that we should never have published Pac-Avoid," he said. "We have taken the game down from our site, and we apologise for having published it in the first place.
"Let me be clear: This unfortunate situation is an exception to the rule. King does not clone games, and we do not want anyone cloning our games."
Regarding King's opposition to Stoic trademarking "The Banner Saga," Zacconi reiterated the rational behind his company's thinking. "We don't believe that Banner Saga resembles any of our games but we already have a series of games where 'Saga' is key to the brand which our players associate with King, such as Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on," he said. "All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.
"We’re not trying to stop Stoic from using the word saga but we had to oppose their application to preserve our own ability to protect our own games. Otherwise, it would be much easier for future copycats to argue that use of the word 'Saga' when related to games, was fair play."
Our TakeThis letter will likely do little to subdue the storm of bad public relations surrounding King's recent actions, especially in light of evidence that King not only published Pac-Avoid, but commissioned it. Though King may be legally protected from its blatant copying of games like Bejeweled, Peggle, and Bust-A-Move, the court of public opinion will call them as they see them, especially given the removal of Pac-Avoid.
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